Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

Tag Archives: Pet Food

What are the recommended daily servings for my pet based on?

Dog with lots of dog foodNot only is the type of food that we feed our furry family members important but, it is also critical to know HOW MUCH we should be feeding. We are often asked, “How much of this food should I be feeding my pet per day?” and the answer is, “It depends.” We aren’t trying to be difficult, we promise. The reality is however, that a lot of different factors go into determining what the right amount of food is for your pet.

Most commercial dog and cat foods offer feeding recommendations on the label that are specific to that diet. This is because the calorie content can be quite different from one diet to the next so, 100 calories may be 1 cup of one food but 2 cups of a different food.

So what are feeding recommendations based on? We know from years of research that, just as in people, dogs and cats have resting metabolic requirements and researchers have developed simple formulas to determine what these daily calorie requirements are. This amount is based predominately on the pet’s weight. From there, other things such as age and activity level are considered.

For example, senior pet foods take into account that these pets are not going to be as active as a 1 or 2-year-old so their energy (calorie) requirements will be less. A puppy, on the other hand, needs more calories in the growing phase of their life so their energy requirements will greater than those of an adult dog.

The label recommendations on the can or bag are meant to be used as guidelines. This means they are a good place to start but your pet may need a little more or a little less based on the factors listed above. The good news is that there are easy to use calculators that you can find online that will help you determine the ideal amount of food you should be feeding based on your individual pet’s needs. For an example of one, click here. You will need to know your pets weight (or ideal weight if you are trying to promote weight loss) and the calories per serving in the diet you are feeding.

This can all seem very daunting but remember, if you have ANY questions about what you are feeding your furry family members or how much you should be feeding, your veterinarian is a great resource. Don’t be afraid to ask to ask for their advice!

Tags: Ask the Vet, Diet, Dogs, Health, Pet advice, Pet Food, Pets, Tips, Weight

Alternative nutrition trends for your pet: are they all they claim to be?

Pet Food and Other Fresh IngredientsCompanies have discovered that pet food is big business and as a result, there is an explosion of new diets out there for pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spent approximately 23 billion (!) dollars just on pet food in 2015. Diets ranging from organic to raw to limited-ingredient varieties have hit store shelves and can make choosing the best diet for your pet a very daunting experience. So how do you know if they are as good as they say they are? Here’s a primer on what to consider next time you are shopping in the pet food aisle.

Organic diets

Organic diets for pets are another hot new trend. Many of these diets may indeed contain “human-grade” or “sustainably-sourced” ingredients however, there is no standardized definition as to what qualifies as organic when it comes to pet foods. Treats can be made with fully organic ingredients but when it comes to complete and balanced organic pet foods, there is no way to certify non-organically produced components such as vitamins, minerals, or other additives. Further, certifying organizations differ in their interpretation of USDA rules about whether a pet food qualifies as Certified Organic. Bottom-line, while high-quality organic pet foods exist, you can’t believe everything you read (or see on the label) and you may be wasting your money.

Limited-ingredient diets

Limited-ingredient diets, sometimes also called limited-allergen diets, are diets that have been created specifically to help animals with medical conditions including allergies or intestinal diseases (e.g., food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease). These diets are typically made with a single protein source and a single carbohydrate source. The thought is to limit things in the diet which can exacerbate the medical issue being treated, so often a novel protein source such as duck or rabbit is used. Unlike other diets, there is actual research that indicates that these diets are helpful in managing specific medical conditions. The type of diet that is best for your pet will depend not only on the condition being treated, but on your pet’s age, activity level, or concurrent medical problems.

Raw food diets

There is a lot of misinformation out there about this category of diets in particular. Proponents of raw food diets claim that these are superior to ‘processed’ diets because they are more like what our dogs and cats ate in the wild and are more nutritious than standard foods. Many of these superiority claims however have no scientific basis at all.

The other big consideration with these diets is the risk of illness that can occur due to bacterial contamination or transmission of parasites in uncooked meats. This risk is present not only for your pet, but for you and your family as well. This applies to all households but is particularly risky in households where there are elderly people, children, or people with poor immune systems.

If you are thinking of making a change to your pets diet or have questions about what diet is best for your particular situation, be sure to talk to your family veterinarian. And don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

Tags: Limited Ingredient Diets, Organic Pet Food, Pet Food, Raw Food Diets
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